Keep repeating: it's only a remake, it's only a remake, it's only a remake...

This year's The Last House on the Left is universally making audiences going "meh" unlike the original which made audiences go "ugh, yeesh...meh", I thought it would be suitable the write the 1,294,005th film nerd blog entry on the subject of remakes.

I'm not an anti-remake person, David Cronenberg's The Fly is one my favourite films of all time, The Hill's Have Eyes remake is a fantastic little horror film. It can however get a little out of hand, especially with many of the other horror remakes are treating the actual film title as commodity and remaking it just because people recognise the title My Bloody Valentine/Prom Night without having actually seen the original film. And in the case of My Bloody Valentine, the original wasn't very good. It's a clash between two anti-remake arguments.

"Why remake that film? The original is perfect!"
"Why remake that film? The original is awful!"
Why remake a bad film? Why remake a great film? What about remaking an okay film with a premise that has the possibilty of being great?! Like Westworld!...Quick check.... Yes they're remaking Westworld. Could be great!
I'm losing my point here. The fact is films are good and bad some remakes are bad, some can actually be good, some original films can be bad though. And if there was some law stating that a story can't be made into a film if it's already been done, we wouldn't have Charlton Heston in Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, The Wizard of Oz, The Fly, Scarface, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, High Society... and if you really want to get persnickety, what if someone told George Lucas he couldn't make Star Wars because it was just a space version of Hidden Fortress? Whether you like it or not no Star Wars means no ILM means no Pixar means no Toy Story, Finding Nemo or any of the other hugely original imaginative films Pixar have made.
How many paintings of the crucifixion are there?
Don't get me wrong though, I'm a bit of a complainer too. Especially when I hear that Ehren Kruger, the guy behind Scream 3 and The Skeleton Key is writing a remake of Videodrome as an action sci-fi thriller. My hopes aren't high. But what's the worse that can happen? Either we have a new version of Videodrome that's good or maybe even better than the original (not bloody likely) or we have a terrible film thats all flashy style with none of the nightmarish chilling tone of the original (likely) and all it will do is make people revisit and appreciate Cronenberg's film all the more.
So frown on about remakes, chances are if you're a complainer of them you've probably paid to see them and will pay again in the future out of curiousity or wanting to be righteous in your complaining. Either way the film is making money and the studio doesn't care what stance you watching the film under, just that you're watching it.

At least they're not remaking Robocop... quick check....


Makes you feel old when you can remember the originals being released.

Deadgirl in the Water

Here's a fantastic little horror film I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008, it showed to a pumped up crowd and blew them away. Nasty, shocking, scary, subversive, hilarious.

Deadgirl is about a couple of horny teenage boys who stumble across a naked living dead woman chained to a table in an abandoned mental institute. Do they run and tell the cops or are they tempted to have a little "fun" with her?
When I saw this film I thought it was the new Saw, in the fact that it was a nasty little low budget horror film that would usually be left straight to DVD but somehow got to the masses and became a cultural phenomenon. Not so, it went straight to DVD (in the UK and Ireland anyway) and despite being now available readily online and in HMV and having advertisements in Empire and Bizarre, I've yet to read an article about it or a review not online. Which is weird, this film at least raises some controversial issues and has a eye catching plot... it's about raping a zombie sex slave! How can you not write about that?

The film plays out straight faced but with some tongue in cheek, it makes some of the most inappropriate jokes and some off the wall stuff happens, yet it's ever so believable. And it also bravely has no good guys, everyone in this film is morally challenged even the guys who think they're good, aren't.

So gather some unsuspecting people pick up the DVD, turn off the lights and watch one of the most original horror films of the decade.

Inside French Horror

At Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear in 2008 a phrase that kept popping up was "French Horror", two director's who need no introduction Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper separately said that good things are coming out of France in the horror genre. I was baffled and in no doubt that there was some French horror films of note, mainly the astounding Eyes Without a Face or the ultra violent High Tension (aka Switchblade Romance). But if told to keep an eye on the horror output from the European continent, I would look towards Spain as both REC and The Orphanage had blown away audiences that year.

So I looked up what these French horror films are. I was surprised to find that the leader of the pack Inside has never been released in Ireland or the UK.

Inside is a very simple set-up, a young heavily pregnant lady is alone in Christmas Eve while riots rage in the city. A mysterious lady calls to her door with a pair of scissors and a goal. To cut the baby out. Violent, raw and visceral. The film takes over the top scenes of violence that other films might make light of but doesn't make light of it. So you get the crazy kinetic gore of an American 80's horror movie with none of the comic relief. It delivers exploding heads and various stabbings with a deadly straight face. Making for one gut-wrenching ride with a strangely emotional finale.
What you get is a weird mix of unrelenting violence of old school horror film, but with a great script and fantastic performances from some fine French actors, who fight and fight to a primal state, Plus very little CGI and a lot of practical latex, prosthetic work, that's the secret.

For more on the French Horror Wave see Frontier(s), Martyrs and Them. I may talk about them in the future. But yeah well done the French

SALO or the 120 Days of Sodom

The Original Aristocrats Joke

A film that has been banned in many countries, the ban has only been lifted in the past year with the arrival of a lovingly created 2 disc BFI edition. In Australia it is still banned. Twice. In Ohio a store owner was arrested for selling a copy only to have Alec Baldwin, Martin Scorsese among others signed a legal brief noting the film's artistic merit and the case was dismissed.

So why is his film so controversial? Is it the nudity?Rape? Feces consumption? Torture? Sodomy? Eye gouging? Tongue slicing? Golden shower? The many references to atrocious acts of paedophilia? Obviously these themes can touch a nerve with many people but I think what really pushes Salo over the edge from being offensive to downright disturbing is how it's played out.

Adapted from The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade (where the word 'sadistic' comes from) but based in Nazi Italy. When four rich and powerful men decide to marry each other's daughters they celebrate by kidnapping 18 young men and women, taking them to a palace and repeatedly raping, torturing and humiliating them. All for their own pleasure.

What is so disturbing about the whole thing is the attitude of the men. They seem to take their nihilistic pleasure vacation extremely seriously. As if there is some righteous goal. But there is no goal. Even their fake weddings and best arse competitions are dealt with straight faces.

It's also extremely objective, despite their acts these men are not vilified by the director through music or lighting. in fact very few cinematic tools are used making it all to easy to forget your watching a film. It's quite immersing and for me reminded me of a nightmare where something bizarre and atrocious is happening but observers aren't reacting in the appropriate manner. It's so objective that much of the climax is viewed through binoculars from afar.

It has been dismissed as pretentious exploitation, but there is usually a giddy thrill in exploitation, where you are entertained and can't wait to see what's going to happen next. Not here. It's hard to watch and quite depressing, it's not entertaining. A subject matter can only be as entertaining as the director wants it to be, Pasolinni has no interest in guilty pleasure here. He almost wants you to hate this film and wish the end would come soon, he makes you wish for a Hollywood ending with the cavalry gloriously arriving from nowhere to end this nightmare.

In short it's a repugnant film that you won't enjoy but won't be able to get out of your head. Not for everyone, but fascinating.

Welcome... another film blog, from old stuff to new stuff from rants to raves, we wan't to make one thing clear. we love films, welove talking about them, reading about them, writing about them, watching them and yes if you look into it, making some now and again. Please tell us when we're and when we're wrong

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